Lewis Hamilton’s father, Anthony, has given a revealing insight into how his relationship with his son has evolved over the last couple of years and why the move to Mercedes is another example of him flying the nest.
Hamilton Snr’s presence in McLaren’s post-race celebrations of Hamilton’s brilliant victory in Austin pointed towards father and son having firmly been reconciled this year after a period in which their relationship, publicly at least, has appeared more distant.
The pair had been famously more akin to a double act as Lewis came through the motorsport ranks and into his record-breaking early years of F1. However, that started to change in early 2010 when the McLaren driver decided to stop having his career managed by his father before eventually appointing XIX to look after his affairs.
Appearing on the BBC Radio 5 Live Chequered Flag Podcast (click here to listen) amid McLaren’s celebrations of his son’s victory on Sunday, Anthony acknowledged that Lewis had felt a desire to “have his own space”, implying that the 27-year-old had belatedly experienced his teenage “tantrum years”.
“To be honest it hasn’t been so much (me) not being part of the set-up, it’s been Lewis having his own space, us having our own space, and Lewis is now going to have his own space next year. It’s what kids do isn’t it?” Hamilton Snr said.
“The unfortunate thing for young racing drivers is that they don’t have the opportunity to go through the tantrum years. I’ve been fortunate – actually maybe I’ve been unfortunate, I’m not so sure! – none of my kids went through the terrible teens. When you’re a racing driver, or a kart racer or a single-seater racer you don’t have time to go off the rails, you’ve got to stay on the rails.
“So it’s been interesting. But the family are great as we always have been and we have all found our feet in life if you want.”
The comments from Hamilton – who described Sunday as “Lewis’s greatest ever race” – regarding the Mercedes move come at a time when fresh questions over its logic are being raised given the Brackley team’s current travails.
While Hamilton was beating Sebastian Vettel to his fourth win of the season on Sunday, his new employer was faring far worse with Michael Schumacher enduring what he bluntly described as a “disaster” as he slipped from fifth on the grid to 16th at the chequered flag having had to make two pit stops due to high rear tyre wear.
Ironically, since Hamilton’s move 2013 to the team was announced in the week before the Japanese GP Mercedes has failed to score a single point in five races.
Perhaps with that statistic in mind, his current team-mate, Jenson Button, continues to assert that Hamilton is making an error in leaving McLaren.
Asked in the same podcast if Hamilton’s victory had been good for the team as a whole, Button replied: “Especially for him. He’s leaving us – I still think it’s the wrong decision, but it’s his own.”
He added: “It’s always great having a very quick team-mate like Lewis. He pushes you hard and we’ve had some good battles over the last three years. But things change, you move on, and I’m excited about working with Checo.”
Hamilton’s move to Mercedes is one of the many big stories of the season covered in the 2012 JA on F1 yearbook – “The Year of Living Dangerously”. Pre-order your signed copy here ahead of its release on December 7.